Monday Feb 13, 2012

OMG! What Did I Just Install?

Quick Quiz:

Q: What's in this Solaris 10 package: SUNWlibstdcxx4S?
A: You cheated. You googled it and found the link to the Oracle Solaris 10 documentation.

You're in luck, because each release of the Solaris 10 documentation contains a Package List for that release. For example:

Now try this:

Q: What's in this Solaris 11 package: compress/p7zip?
A: buzzer!

The Solaris 11 documentation does not include a package list. You can find mentions of some packages through google, but it's hit and miss. And you still don't get the rest of the info about the package that the Solaris 10 documentation included. So how do you find out what Solaris 11 packages you just installed? Here are two methods.

The pkg list Command

The pkg list command lists all the packages currently installed on your system. If you use it, redirect the output to a file so your screen doesn't wind up looking like a scene out of The Matrix. Since package naming is hierarchical, you are likely to find similar packages grouped together in the list. For example:

$ pkg list
.
.
.
compress/bzip2
compress/gzip
compress/p7zip
compress/unzip
compress/zip
.
.
.
editor/gedit
editor/nano
editor/vim

You can just list a subset of the packages you are interested in:

$ pkg list driver/network/ethernet/*

By the way, to list all packages that are available for you to install, add -a to the pkg-list command. This example asks for the name of all the packages you can install in the editor group:

$ pkg list -a editor/*

One you have a list of the packages, you can use one of the commands below to get additional info about each package.

The pkg info and pkginfo Commands

The pkg info command provides detailed information about a particular IPS package. For example:
$ pkg info p7zip
          Name: compress/p7zip
       Summary: The p7zip compression and archiving utility
   Description: P7zip is a unix port of the 7-Zip utility.  It has support for
                numerous compression algorithms, including LZMA and LZMA2, as
                well as for various archive and compression file formats,
                including 7z, xz, bzip2, gzip, tar, zip (read-write) and cab,
                cpio, deb, lzh, rar, and rpm (read-only).
      Category: System/Core
         State: Installed
     Publisher: solaris
       Version: 9.20.1
 Build Release: 5.11
        Branch: 0.175.0.0.0.2.537
Packaging Date: Wed Oct 19 09:13:22 2011
          Size: 6.73 MB
          FMRI: pkg://solaris/compress/p7zip@9.20.1,5.11-0.175.0.0.0.2.537:20111019T091322Z 

Here's another example:

$ pkg info -r solaris-large-server
          Name: group/system/solaris-large-server
       Summary: Oracle Solaris Large Server
   Description: Provides an Oracle Solaris large server environment
      Category: Meta Packages/Group Packages
         State: Not installed
     Publisher: solaris
       Version: 0.5.11
 Build Release: 5.11
        Branch: 0.175.1.0.0.9.2627
Packaging Date: Mon Feb 06 22:33:56 2012
          Size: 5.45 kB
          FMRI: pkg://solaris/group/system/solaris-large-server@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.0.0.9.2627:20120206T223356Z

The pkginfo command does the same for any SVR4 packages you may have installed on the same system.

For More Information

- Rick Ramsey with Alta Elstad

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Thursday May 19, 2011

How Far We've Come

Sys Admin Days

The first of what I hope are many OTN Sysadmin Days had its debut in San Diego, my home town, this week. The topic: Oracle Solaris 11 Express. So, I had the pleasure of having Rick (working with one of the attendees in the picture to the right) in town with a roomful of sys admins – our favorite people – staring at laptops as they worked through exercises designed to build a better understanding of our next generation operating system.

Solaris 11! Oh, my! I feel a reminiscence coming on... When I joined Sun (23 years and one day after our first OTN Sysadmin Day), the battle was to get people to simply accept Unix. The marketplace was dominated by proprietary operating systems, like VMS and Aegis (remember them?), and it was often difficult to simply get our foot in the door. We were, of course, running SunOS 3.5, a BSD derivative, at the time. It was often a hard sell. We targeted sys admins, telling them that "if you let Unix be your friend, it will be a very good friend." And the sys admins became our good friends, although we may have occasionally strained that friendship.

Unix was splintering and evolving very quickly back then. We ran everything in 2 MB of memory, although everyone knew 4 MB was much, much better...if you could get it. Nowadays, we often try to squeeze things on our home systems into 2 GB of memory, knowing that 4 GB is much, much better.

Remember when we "abandoned" BSD and embraced SVR4? Same language, different dialect, but boy did that make life a challenge. The evolution to Solaris was important – and often painful – for us, but it had to be done. It would have been difficult for us to even conceptualize such things as ZFS and Oracle Solaris Containers. Features we now take them for granted.

Also, remember when many of those proprietary houses took notice of this important trend, and tried to slow progress by establishing OSF, which Scott McNealy characteristically quipped stood for "Oppose Sun Forever"? Those were the good old days!

So, I take my hat off to the "pioneers" of our next operating system. I might call them "brave," but that label rightfully goes to those early adopters of Solaris 7, back in 1998. Solaris 11 is just "more, better."

- Kemer

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Contributors:
Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community

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